tv MSNBC News Live MSNBC November 30, 2010 12:00pm-1:00pm EST
extension of unemployment take a hike. >> desperate times for those watching the clock tick away. at midnight, 800,000 americans will lose that financial lifeline. if congress fails to act, another 1.2 million will see their last check on december 31st. president obama says he hopes that won't happen. >> while our ideas may be different, our goals must be the same, growing this economy, putting people back to work and securing the dream for all who work for it. >> nbc news contributor richard wolfe is at the white house now. where do unemployment benefits rank in the priorities of topics to be dealt with between the republicans, the democrats and the white house? >> reporter: there is a real linkage here. those unemployment benefits are winding down here. it is unclear how the congress
in this lake duck session will drag this out. the white house i think ideally would like to tie these two things together and say okay, you want your tax cuts extended across the board for a period of time, let's do that, but let's have unemployment benefits extended right now. >> and there are other topics to be discussed today, how far apart is the gop and the white house on things like the s.t.a.r.t. treaty, don't ask, don't tell and the expiration of the bush tax cuts? >> reporter: well, you know this meeting is going on right now between the congressional leadership and the president. i'm just looking over my shoulder here at the west wing lobby, they haven't emerged yet so things have gone on longer than people have expected for an hour long meeting. but when you look at things like don't ask, don't tell, it's a very hard line for the republicans to get this done.
whereas on the s.t.a.r.t. treaty, there is some openings there, people saying give us more time for the stockpile and maybe we can talk. the question is will they do this now? i don't think anything gets done until they do the deal on tax cuts. >> we're watching for president obama to come out and when he does, we'll take his comments live there. my big question today on unemployment, can we afford to have benefits end for two million americans by christmas? i would like to hear your thoughts on this. congressman charlie rangel is stepping up his campaign to avoid being sen chured in the house. members have to debate the resolution within the next two days and the committee says rangel improperly used hiss office to raise money and file misleading financial disclosure forms. rangel and hiss allies are circulating a top ten list of the reasons he should receive a lesser punishment than censure.
the number one reason listed that rangel has not been convicted of a crime. of course he hasn't been charged with a crime out in the civilian courts. secretary of state hillary clinton is in kazakhstan today. it's been a week since wikileaks gave -- spent the weekend calling her overseas counterparts. matthew ho is the director of the afghanistan study group, he's the first u.s. official to resign over objections to the war in afghanistan. many of these revelations, matt, are simply scintillating personal gossip. others have been previously widely reported in the press. for instance you have the corruption in afghanistan, concern about iran's fascist leaders by the neighbors. so how much true diplomatic danger is there here. >> hi, contessa, i think the danger is that it erodes our
credibility and it erodes the perception of the united states as a reliable partner. when i go and i speak to university students, i'll say to them, imagine if you are the desk officer at the chinese foreign ministry or the russian foreign ministry and you are responsible for the united states, you have to analyze the united states' foreign policy as well as predict where it's going to go. well the last ten years, our policy's been so schizophrenic in its action in the sense that we criticize the iranian elections for being fraudulent, and a couple of months later when karzai steals his elections. what this does is it says that not only is the united states not reliable or we can't predict what the united states is going to do, we also can't trust that our confidential conversations are going to remain exactly that, confidential. i think ambassador jeffrey summed it up very well, this is
an impediment to his business, dealing in very confidential conversations with many people. this strikes a blow at that. >> i'm looking for the silver lining, you had israel saying the leaks show how other arab neighbors are sharing concerns about iran's nuclear program. could some of these actually lead to more cooperation to better diplomacy in certain instances? >> well, you know, i think it's going to -- it will have the opposite affect going back to our conversation we just spoke about in the sense of that the confidentiality is lost. what -- if you're interested in bombing iran and you now see that the arab states surrounding iran are supportive of that, of course this is a help for your campaign. but if you're not interested in that, if you're interested in maybe trying to find some way to not have a third war that the united states is involved in, or actually bring about some detente to bring about some
openness or aggression to the middle east, this is a blow that many states are supportive of attacks on iran. if you go back to a decade ago, there was very little information sharing across the agencies in our government. and after september 11, we made some changes to ensure better information sharing. and this strikes a blow at that as well. now what's going to happen, all our agencies are all now going to clamp down on the sharing of that information, the accessibility of information. >> for civilians who don't know a lot about this, i'm watching the news on this coming back from thanksgiving break and when i hear the president has ordered these agencies to now tighten up access to sensitive information, i'm thinking shouldn't that have been done already? how does a low level intelligence analyst have access to so much information that has
caused so much consternation? >> it's a network. our secret information system which we call sipo for secret internekt protocol, you can move from with ewebsite to website ad pick up information from various agencies and again it's so that we don't have that stove pipe mentality that we had a decade ago. what you have, if it is true, if bradley manning was a person who did this, you had a very low ranking individual with a lot of time on his hands because this would take a lot of time to download this information. who was able to collect it and provide it to wikileaks for whatever purposes. i'm not sure what his purposes were in doing this. i don't really think this causes too great of a national security risk to us. however it damages us in a lot of other ways in the sense of
sharing information, losing correct with our allies or with other partners as well as now if a diplomat is stationed someplace, how are you going to be able to write a truthful cable that may get exposed later on. so now our diplomats represents our government around the world may be less forthcoming in their communications which would be bad for us. >> you were responsible for analyzing information, going back to superiors and saying here's the situation as it stands and certainly you want all the candor you can get from those folks on the ground and who know best where things stand. it's unfortunate. it's now being called the big chill. matt rpalways good to see you, we're waiting to see if president obama will address
this. he did not yesterday in his comments. he's been in a meeting today with congressional leaders from both the republican and the democratic parties trying to map out where their priorities are in the future. let me go to senator sharon brown who's a democrat from ohio. do you think this is likely to change in any way, senator brown, what congress wants to do on homeland security, on the fight against terrorism? i mean does the leak of these documents change in any way your perspective as a functioning senator? >> we're all upset about it. it's incomprehensible other than ego why anybody would release these. it will result in more secrecy, it will mean people are less honest with each other in diplomatic circumstances in the different governments and between and among them. it puts people at risk. it's a terrible, terrible thing. i can't predict how it's going to play out other than that,
it's going to make diplomacy a bit harder for us as a nation and it doesn't look good for anybody in this. and it's a tragedy and we have got to move forward, we have got to make sure that these -- of course these back and forth message, our communications stay confidential when they're supposed to be. we learned some lessons from this. but in no measure is it a good thing. it's no individual fault, it's not a republican or a democratic problem, it's a national diplomatic and security problem we need to address. >> i invited you on today because i wanted to talk about unemployment benefits and the fact that they're ending and the republicans say, look, we just can't afford to keep extending unemployment benefits for all of these americans who have been out of work for a long time. but for every dollar of unemployment benefits the effect is $2 worth of economic
activity. can we afford not to extend unemployment benefits? first for humanitarian reasons, families that can't get unemployment. this is unemployment insurance, it's not welfare, as a lot of my republicans colleagues like to suggest it is. you pay into it when you're working, you get help when you're not. what happens to these families who can't pay their bills, can't buy their food, can't pay their rent, can't do what they need to for their kids, especially. a dollar in unemployment benefits ripples through the economy because it gets spent almost immediately by the unemployed, the laid off worker and that money gets spent over and over in the community, in the economy, at the grocery store, at the shoe store, buying books for their kids, paying their rent, all of that. and those are the two reasons it's so important. and when i hear republicans say we can't do that, we can give it
a $700 billion tax cut to millionaires and billionaires, not pay -- no idea how to pay for that, just add that. that's just basically borrowing money. >> you heard eric cantor saying they're going to try and create jobs for all these people but we have been under these tax cuts and these people still don't have jobs. >> look at the history of tax cuts, when george bush in '01 and '03, there were no job created. and to give these tax cuts to the wealthy who won't spend them, unemployed workers will spend their unemployment compensation. you give somebody making a million dollars a year gets tens of thousands of dollars more back as a tax cut, they're not going to go out and buy things they're already not buying. it doesn't help the economy much
at all. >> when we talk about where things can be cut. republicans have now defeated this democrat sponsored bill because of earmarks. if there's so much concern over the federal budget, rising debt, why not support a ban on those pork barrel projects. >> they're far less than 1% of the federal budget. and the earmarks that i have done in ohio and what i have done with senator voinovich, my republican colleague in ohio, they have been for water and sewer projects, they have been for hospitals and schools, they have been for an interchange that will help economic development. these are legitimate government expenditures, if we don't get this stuff from congress, the administration's going to decide where this money is going to be spent. so it doesn't make sense to me, i understand what some people are saying, but i think that
when we make sure these earmarks are transparent, make sure people see what they are and justify them and they go through a committee process and all that, they make sense in many cases. >> senator brown, it's always good to see you. >> authorities are still searching for those three missing brothers in michigan, but hopes are fading. >> plus why towns across the country are forced to shell out millions of dollars they don't have because somebody wants to change the street signs and change them in ways that may have you shaking your head. trust me. trust me. ya i like that. trust me. bankers are known to be a little bit in love with themselves. are we going up? we can get the next one. i'd like to get your advice on hedging - risk... exposure. what makes us different? for 300 years we've chosen to focus on our clients.
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a 15-year-old student pulled out a gun in class and then reportedly held that group hostage for about five hours. police say he shot himself when they stormed the classroom after that. police say there's no clear motive for why he went into the school to hold hiss classmates hostage. >> we were talking to him about hunting, fishing, movies, music, anything that could keep the conversation going because we wanted to be on his good side. search crews are still looking for three missing brothers in houston. police say their dad is lying when he claims he left his sons andrew, alexander and tyler with an acquaintance. the mom is a convicted sex offender. convicted for having sex with a 14-year-old when she was more than twice his age. the dad has been in the hospital since he tried to commit suicide. many parts of the country
under tornado watches and warnings today, metro atlanta in 49 counties in georgia, east mississippi, the western panhandle, louisiana. officials in yazooi city say th storm ripped roofs off of buildings. storms blew through central louisiana yesterday damaging at least three homes, no one was injured or killed there. the u.s., south korea and japan are not very excited about china's idea of holding emergency talks with north korea. the white house says going back to the negotiating table would be like rewarding the north for its deadly artillery attack on south korean islands last week. amid all this news, out comes the cables released by wikileaks on china's welcoming a free south korea. >> there's been no official response in south korea to the wikileaks cables about north korea and china, the suggestion
that china is less informed about the north and has less influence than many people had thought. no response either to the suggestion that china might accept a korea controlled by the south. those communications all written before the latest crisis. from pyongyang today, there were public boasts about the progress of its uranium enrichment program and with the war games between the u.s. and south korea continuing for a third day in the yellow sea, the south unleashed a different sort of bombardment on the north. the weapons were leaf lets and one dollar bills, the means of delivery, helium balloons. ten of them were sent by activists over the dmz. >> ian williams reporting there. the pentagon is releasing its study this afternoon on its
survey of don't ask don't tell on whether repealing it would hurt the military. the big question here is they're already serving in the military. would serving openly affect the way the military does business? before we get a break here, what's hot on the web today? we're looking at msnbc.com. the "new york times" details how some groups are celebrating the 150th anniversary of the war without slaves. the group is planning parties but barely acknowledging slavery and how it divided the nation. it's a money making venture for ten attendants with the now bankrupt mexicana airlines. they funded the shoots and now the center folds are making $12 off every calendar they sell and they're selling like hot cakes. texas christian university
currently is in the mountain west, but will move to the big 12. by the way, as a syracuse alumna, can i say welcome tcu to the big east. i'll get your name right, but i'm pretty sure we'll kick your horned frog. time for the your business entrepreneur of the week. gus stave makes -- he brought his father in as a business partner. but there were conflicts between them. so they create an independent board of advisers which is keeping the gallery on a profitable path. for more your business, watch saturday mornings on msnbc. the creativity, the innovation, there's definitely a tie there. one thing our scientists are working on is carbon capture and storage, which could prevent co2 from entering the atmosphere. we've just built a new plant to demonstrate
how we can safely freeze out the co2 from natural gas. it looks like snow. it's one way that we're helping provide energy with fewer emissions. i had a heart problem. i was told to begin my aspirin regimen. i just didn't listen until i awoke with pains in my chest. i almost lost my life. my doctor's again ordered me to take aspirin. and i do. i make sure that he does it.
the u.s. government wants your thoughts on a plan to change street signs from capital letters to a mix of capital and lower case letters. in new york city alone, to change all the street signs, the price tag would be $27 million. harrison moody is on the board of supervisors facing some of the same changes. the federal government is saying we want all of you local municipalities to go out and change your signs and you pay for it, is that correct? >> yes, contessa, that's what i understand. we have to have our road signs changed by i think 2018 and we
approximately have 600 roads and with multiple intersections with over 2,000 signs, and those signs cost $140 apiece. our normal budget is about $10,000 on replacing signs, this will put us over $250,000. >> you will have to increase the letter size from four inches to six inchings and install reflective lettering. what would you say if i told you that the study that was done to justify these changes was conducted by the 3-m corporation which makes reflective materials to go on signs? >> i have heard earlier that the 3-m company was part of the study that did the study with the government. that was my understanding. >> and do you thank you it's a good idea to change all these signs? i mean price aside, is it really going to make a difference in
the way people navigate through your area? >> i don't think it will make a whole lot of difference from the people i have talked to. they would rather take the money that we would have to spend on signs and put them towards education or public safety or such things as that. and this will definitely be an unfunded mandate in these bad economic times to come up with the money to do that. >> as i said, it's happening, the protests here in places from east coast to west coast and everything in between. in milwaukee for instance, they're looking at pretty much double what they spend on traffic repairs just to go around changing all their street signs. thank you very much mr. moody, i appreciate your time today, sir. the obama administration's trying to limit the damage from those classifies documents revealed by wikileaks, but al qaeda already trying to take advantage of it. plus could too much of a good thing actually be too much
iran plans to discuss it's nuclear ambitions at a meeting next week. but ahmadinejad says his country will not make one iota or -- questions about three thal injections, there are concerns inmates might be conscious and in pain which would be considered cruel and unusual punishment. the first chevy volt rolled off the assembly line in detroit this morning. the electric car goes on sale in december. there's a rumor that apple's ipad 2 will go on sale next month and hit store shelves in april.
the pentagon will release it's 10-month study on the controversy known as don't ask, don't tell. that survey is expected to say that a majority of troops think that gays could serve openly in america's armed forces without a problem. but it looks as though the problems already exist. for instance, the private accused in the wikileaks document dump is reportedly gay and was hassled for it. >> as a gay man in the military, he was, you know, he was out cast and he was, you know, teased and harassed. >> alex nicholson is the executive director of service members united. alex, is that treatment common in the service for gay military service members? >> i think you see examples that range the entire spectrum, you see people who are harassed, who are assaulted. but on the other end of the spectrum, you see people who serve completely openly for five, ten, 20 years and never
have a problem. you really do see everything across the entire spectrum in today's military. >> what is your understanding about why some gay members of the military can serve openly and others cannot? >> because the don't ask, don't tell law is extremely outdated, you have many commanders who have critical need especially on the battlefield down range who say i'm not going to lose my air rab bick -- just because he happens to be gay and just because people happened to find out about him. so you have an arbitrary command enforcement. and then you have other commanders who just look the other way and say this is stupid, i'm ignoring it because of the needs of my unit. >> there's been this argument for years that don't ask don't tell helps keep in place unit
cohesi cohesion, that if you appeal it it might compromise safety. you were kicked out for being gay here, if don't ask, don't tell is repealed, will there be a problem with unit cohesion? >> with any policy change, there will be isolated pockets of problems. if you look at the cases today where you have people serving openly in the military, where you have commanders actively defying the law and looking the other way, you don't see these problems with unit cohesion. the brits, the australians, for example, you don't have unit cohesion problems when you have gays serving openly in the military. >> let me bring in congressman anthony wiener of new york, he's the vice chair of the house lgbt caucus. so pentagon officials are briefing you and fellow lawmakers on this report about
the pentagon's survey today, both defense secretary robert gates and admiral mike mullen have come out in support of the ban, but there's been high profile push backs, mostly from the marine commandant. does it matter who supports and who opposes the repeal? >> i think it does matter. reportedly 70% in the military believe this is a good idea. the president and his top brass think this is a good idea. the bottom line is the same fundamental question, we want people in our military who will shoot and kill the enemy and provide services that we need in our military, including things like language skills and being able to run these complicated machinery. that's what makes our military strong, not sexual orientation. >> a lot of the arguments against repealing this ban were the same arguments that were made against integrating the
military. >> whenever big organizations have these kinds of changes, they wind up getting some resistance. but the one thing about our military which has always been something we have been proud of, they have been at the leading edge of some of these social reforms because ultimately they want good war fighters and ultimately that's the same thing that congress and the american people want. >> if i had a dime for everything the senate didn't do, i would be a wealthy man. but it's something that needs to happen, and needs to happen soon. this is a matter of national defense. we are leaving tens of thousands of and maybe even more than that of able-bodied men and women who should be serving our country in this complicated time, we're leaving them on the sidelines. it's time to get them into the military serving openly and letting us share in the skills they have. >> and what's your prediction? >> i think it will ultimately happen, the only problem is how fast reform will come. if only we studied this and knew
it was the right thing to do i would support it. now they want another study. i think we need to recognize that we have the facts now. >> congressman wiener, we'll be looking for information on that front. who says bipartisanship is dead. senator mccain just made a for well speech to senator feingold. he was defeated by tea party republican ron johnson. mccain said nothing personal to johnson, but he said the senate will be worse without feingold there. >> we're of different parties and our political views are often opposed. we have had many debates on many issues. but where we agreed on wasteful spending, ethics reform, campaign finance reform and other issues, it was a privilege to fight alongside and not against russ feingold.
>> mccain closed by saying he plans to try harder to become half the public servant feingold is. the newest round of wikileaks include -- one of the wikileaks appeared to show the president of yemen talking about the incident and agreeing to cover up u.s. involvement. michael isikoph is our correspondent for nbc news. >> this is an example, contessa on one of the wikileaks cables that actually deals with a pretty substantive serious matter that goes beyond diplomatic gossip. this air strike in december of 2009 was publicly the story was this was conducted by the yemen
ease with u.s. assistance. it caused an uproar in yemen because there were 41 civilians reportedly killed including women and children, while the u.s. provided assistance, it was a yemeni air force raid. amnesty international last year challenged that, showed pictures of u.s. cruise missiles at the site and cluster bombs. the pentagon refused to comment. but now we have this cable in which president sala appears to be saying that he's lying to the yemeni public when he says it's a yemeni air force raid and not a u.s. government raid. >> it looks like there could be some diplomatic issues for him. americans are more concerned than ever about the growing budget deficit. but just like in washington,
they're divided about what to do about it. 85% of americans are worried about the harm it will do. the majority admit we will likely need higher taxes and less government services to bridge the deficit. home prices are falling at a report rate in the nation's largest cities. standard and poors says it had a 26% price drop in september with cleveland showing the biggest loss. the only cities to show gains here, washington, d.c. and las vegas. foreclosures could drive down prices even further. right now president obama's meeting with republicans and democrats at the white house. we are expecting to hear from the president at any moment as soon as the meeting wraps up. [ male announcer ] don't let aches and pains in the morning slow you down. introducing bayer am. its dual-action formula delivers extra strength pain relief, plus it fights fatigue.
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world view. i rainian president mahmoud ahmadinejad said it's country's uranium enrichment program was -- he claims things are okay now. he's also accusing the west of sabota sabotage. downtown tokyo was all atremble this morning after a 4.9 magnitude tremor. no reports of major damage or injuries. the roads in perth scotland were so bad that people -- u.s. high school graduation rates appear to be rising but there's more work to be done. that's the finding of a new report released today by america's promise. an education nonprofit founded did general colin powell.
president obama has said he wants a 90% high school graduation rate by 2020. arnie duncan says today's report offers hope. >> for every debate i have that says that schools can't get better, this report, this evidence, this data put the lie into that myth. >> rehema ellis is live in washington. to what do they attribute this success? >> they say part of the success is that they are demanding more from students. when you ask people to do more, contessa, they say do it. take a look at some of these numbers about the progress being made in schools. 120,000 more graduates in this country. but i think you've got some breaking news so i'm going to toss it back to you.
>> let's go now to washington, d.c., this is mitch mcconnell and john boehner there who have just come out of their meeting with president obama and we're just getting the tape in. >> democrats as well that the tax breaks should not be bifurcated, in other words we should treat all taxpayers the same as john indicated. we will each designate someone to actually try to plead the agreement. i think there was also widespread agreement that the two most important things to do is decide how we're going to fund the government during the next ten months and in the senate we're wrestling with a lot of other matters that may have some level of importance but weren't in the same category as deciding what everybody's tax rates are going to be and deciding how we're going to spend the government. so i hope we can reshuffle our priorities on the senate side, get them in line with these two big issues and hopefully wrap up the 111th congress.
>> i was pleased on a number of accounts, first that the president did recognize that the election meant that the people want to see results out of washington. and i think you have heard now a process being put into place that hopefully we can begin to producing those results first and foremost, take away the uncertainty around the tax hikes or rates that exist right now. secondly, i was encouraged by the president's remarks regarding his perhaps not having reached out enough to us in the last session. and that this meeting was the beginning of a series in which he hoped that we could work together in a different fashion for the benefit of the american people given the problems that we face. >> the meeting was very conciliatory, you sound optimistic, will this dial down the rhetoric on some of these issues? that we're going to hear a
softer tone from the republicans? >> could i just make the point that americans have preferred a divided government more often than not since world war ii. it's not unusual to find ourselves in the position we're in the in the 112th congress. some of these periods where you have had divided government have been quite productive. i think the second clinton administration, with balance budgets and trade agreements, i think we all agree there's no particular reason why we can't do some important things for the american people over the next two years. >> i agree that the president did make an important point that eric mentioned, that he hasn't spent as much time with us reaching out and talking to us and committed to do so. and as i told the president, i think him spending more time will help us find common ground. there's a reason why we have democrats and republicans. we believe in different things about the appropriate role of
the federal government. but having said that, the more time that we do spend together, we can find the common ground because the american people expect us to come here and work on their behalf? >> do you see things different now than under mrs. pelosi, do you see things more positive in the future? >> we had a nice meeting today, of course we have had several very nice meetings. >> it was pretty revealing that the leadership on the democratic side of the aisle and the house right now is ready to go and get the job done. i think that somehow it's a difficulty in trying to help priorities come into being on the other side of the capitol and i think all of us were here and the president put his best food forward and said we realize we have got to produce results. i do think and am hopeful that
we can work together. >> any other areas like s.t.a.r.t. treaty or dream act or anything else? >> well the s.t.a.r.t. treaty is a senate issue, there was some discussion of it and i know the president would like to go forward as soon as possible. i think the view of the senate republicans is let's take care of the tax issue, let's take care of how we're going to fund the government for the next ten months and then if there's time left for other matters, it will be up to the majority leader, senator reid to decide to turn to other things. >> do you think there will be an agreement on the tax cut issue before the adjournment of this congress? >> i'm hopeful there will be an agreement today. >> we believe mr. kemp would represent the house republicans. >> this is president obama now just coming out to react to that meeting he had with mitch mcconnell and john boehner and
other democrats in this bipartisan meeting. >> i met with leaders from both parties, it was over first chance to get together face to face since the election, let's talk about how we can best work together to move the country forward. it's no secret that we have had differences, that have led us to partways on many issues in the past. but we are americans first and we share a responsibility for the steward ship of our nation. the american people did not vote for gridlock. they didn't vote for unyielding partisanship. they're demanding cooperation and they ov're demanding progre and they'll hold all of us and i mean all of us accountable for it. and i was very encouraged by the fact that there was broad recognition of that fact in the room. i just want to say, i thought it was a productive meeting, i thought that people came to it with a spirit of trying to work
together and i think it's a good start as we move forward. i think everybody understands that the american people want us to focus on their jobs, not ours. they want us to come together around strategies to accelerate the recovery and get americans back to work. they want us to confront the long-term deficits that cloud our future. they want us to focus on their safety and security and not allow matters of urgent importance to become locked up in the politics of washington. so today we had the beginning of a new dialogue that i hope and i think most americans hope that will break through the dialogue and produce real gains and i think we all agreed that should begin today because there's some things we need to get done in the weeks before congress leaves town for the holiday. first we should work to make sure that taxes will not go up by thousands of dollars on hard working middle class americans come january 1.
which would be disastrous for these families, but also could be crippling for the economy. there was broad agreement that we need to work to get that resolved before the end of the year. now there's still differences about how to get there. republican leaders want to permanently extend tax cuts not only to middle class families, but also to some of the wealthiest americans at the same time. and here we disagree. i believe and the other democrats in the room believe that this would add an additional $700 billion to our debt in the next ten years. and i continue to believe that it would be unwise and unfair, particularly at a time when we're contemplating deep budget cuts that require broad sacrifice. having said that, we agreed that there must be some sensible common ground. so i appointed my treasury
secretary, tim geithner and my budget director jack lou to work with representatives of both parties to break through this logjam. i have asked the leaders to appoint members to help in this negotiation process, they agreed to the that. that process is beginning right away. and we expect to get some answers back over the next couple of days about how we can accomplish our key goal which is to make sure the economy continues to grow and we are putting people back to work. and we also want to make sure that we're giving the middle class the peace of mind of knowing that their taxes will not be raised come january 1. i also urged both parties to move quickly to preserve a number of other tax breaks for individuals and businesses that are helping our recovery right now and that are set to expire at the end of the year. this includes a tax credit for college tuition, a tax credit
for 95% -- a tax break for 95% of working families that i initiated at the beginning of my presidency, as well as a tax cut for thousands of dollars for businesses that hire unemployed workers. we discussed a number of other issues as well, including the importance of ratifying the new s.t.a.r.t. treaty, so we can monitor russia's nuclear arsenal, reduce our nuclear weapons and strengthen our relationship with russia. i reminded the room that this treaty's been vetted for seven months now, it's gone through 18 hearings, it has supports from senators of both parties, it has broad bipartisan support from national security advisors and secretaries of defense and secretaries of state from previous administrations, both democrat and republican. and that it's absolutely essential to our national security. we need to get it done. we also talked about the work of the bipartisan deficit reduction
commission and the difficult choices that will be required in order to get our fiscal house in order. we discussed working together to keep the government running this year. and running in a fiscally responsible way. and we discussed unemployment insurance, which expires today. i have asked that congress act to extend this emergency relief without delay to folks who are facing tough times by no fault of their own. now none of this is going to be easy. we have two parties for a reason. there are real philosophical differences, and although the atmosphere in today's meeting was extremely civil, there's no doubt that those differences are going to remain no matter how many meetings we have and the truth is, there's always going to be a political incentive against working together,
particularly in the current hyper partisan climate. there's always those who argue that the best strategy is simply to try to defeat your opposition instead of working with them. and frankly, even the notion of bipartisanship itself has gotten caught up in this mentality. a lot of times coming out of these meetings, both sides claim they want to work together but try to paint the opponent as unyielding and unwilling to cooperate. both sides come to the table, they read their talking points then they head out to the mike known mike -- microphones. now i think there was recognition today that that's a game that we can't afford. not in these times nand a private meeting that i had without staff, without betraying any confidences, i was pleased to see several of my friends in the room say let's try not to
duplicate that, let's not try to work the washington spin cycle to suggest that somehow the other side's not being cooperative. i think that there was a sincere effort on the part of everybody involved to actually commit to work together and to try to deal with these problems. and they understand that these aren't times for us to be playing games. as i told the leaders at the beginning of the meeting, the next election is two years away. and there will be plenty of time for campaigning. but right now, we're facing some very serious challenges. we share an obligation to meet them. and that will require choosing the best of our ideas over the worst of our politics. so that's the spirit in which i invited both parties here today. i'm happy with how the meeting went, and i told all the leadership that i look forward to additional meetings,
including camp david. we're going to have to get them all up there sometime soon. and i very much appreciate the presence today, i appreciate the tenor of the conversations, i think it will actually yield results before the end of the year and i look forward to continuing this dialogue in the months ahead. thank you very much, everybody. >> i'm andrea mitchell live in washington. so what took so long? 27 days after the midterm shellacking, republican leaders and democrats meet face to face at the white house. >> the president did suggest that to unlock the tax disagreement that we have, that secretary of the treasury and the director of the omb would sit down with four of our members, one from each caucus on the hill to begin a discussion to try to unlock this disagreement we have.